Notes: The Dodge Stratus, Intrepid & other Chrysler sedans are infamous for oil sludge problems with the 2.7L V6 engine. If someone offers to sell you a 2.7L V6 model, it's only worth the price of the scrap metal it's going to shortly turn into.

NOTE: Only the 2.7L V6 has the oil sludge problem. Our "Avoid like the Plague" designation is ONLY for models with the 2.7L V6 engine. All other available engines are very reliable with no major problems.

Even with regular maintenance, the oil sludge defect eventually destroys the 2.7L engine typically around 80,000-100,000 miles. The only true fix we know about is to put in the larger 3.2L engine, which has a great reputation. Also the 2.4L engine doesn't have the oil sludge problem.

This issue was never deemed a safety defect by the Feds, so there was no recall. In the end, Chrysler got away with FOUR YEARS worth of defective 2.7L V6 engines in their sedans.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
73,067 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Dodge Stratus engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Dodge Stratus Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #26

Aug 012010


  • 177,000 miles


TL * the contact owns a 2002 Dodge Stratus. The contact stated while driving 35 mph, the vehicle temperature increased. The contact shut off the vehicle and upon further inspection, found that the vehicle was leaking coolant. The vehicle was not repaired. The following day while driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was towed to a local repair shop where the contact was advised that the engine would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 177,000.

- Barstow, CA, USA

problem #25

May 242009


  • 68,000 miles
I own a Dodge Stratus (2002) that has an oil sludge problem. I had a mechanic look at it thinking it was a head gasket and was told that only the gasket would be like a band aid on the problem. He told me that the Chrysler 2.7L engine is having "oil sludge" problems and that there is a class action lawsuit for this. I cannot junk this vehicle as I still owe several thousands of dollars. Also, I have been unable to use this vehicle for the past year and still have to pay my monthly bill.

- Coon Rapids, MN, USA

problem #24

Jan 182010


  • 92,319 miles
I was driving my 2002 Dodge Stratus on the interstate when the engine dies. I coasted to the bottom of the exit ramp and attempted to start the car. All it would do is click. A call to aaa and the car was toed to the dealer. I call from the dealer later in the day revealed a seized engine. My husband confronted the dealer and asked to have the engine opened up for inspection. Sure enough large deposits of oil sludge. I asked the deal where we go from here and he said a replacement engine is $4900 after all the years of taking the car to the dealer for repairs and scheduled oil changes I must know replace the engine. How can Chrysler not be aware of this problem with all the attention it is getting.

- Seekonk, MA, USA

problem #23

Jul 072009


  • miles


2002 Dodge Stratus oil sludge issues - motor blown -

- Kansas City, KS, USA

problem #22

Jun 202008

Stratus 6-cyl

  • 122,156 miles
Noticed increased oil usage with no leaks although oil was changed every 3 months or 3000 miles. At approx. 122000 miles, engine threw a rod. Several Dodge/Chrysler mechanics stated this was due to "oil sludge" buildup, saying this is a very common problem with the 2.7L V6 engine regardless of the type of oil used or frequency of oil changes.

- Ofallon, MO, USA

problem #21

Sep 112008


  • 96,234 miles
During daily driving my Dodge Stratus 2.7 motor failed. After taking to the mechanic, I was told it was cause by engine sludge and that the repair was going to cost me 4K.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #20

Aug 082008


  • 172,000 miles


2.7L engine failure. Tensioner for primary timing chain failed to extend. 2 O rings missing on tensioner. Oil sludge in engine. Oil passages almost plugged.

- Pickford, MI, USA

problem #19

Jun 042008


  • 94,500 miles
Oil sludge caused catastrophic engine failure causing the engine to stop working on the ca-110S.

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #18

Nov 052007

Stratus 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
While on 495 long island expressway the car made a load knocking sound and died. When towed to our mechanic he said it was engine failure. This happened in Nov. 2007(the car was purchased new in August 2002), and there were no funds to fix it which has caused transportation/financial difficulties in regard to work from Nov. 2007 until the present, June 2008. The daimler Chrysler rep. Said they weren't responsible because we didn't bring the car to them for our oil changes. I just received an estimate to replace the engine with a jaspar engine for 4,500 to 5,000 dollars.

- Riverhead, NY, USA

problem #17

Jun 242007


  • 100,000 miles
Oil light came on and the engine seized. Nothing has been done, the car is currently sitting untouched.

- Lake Worth, FL, USA

problem #16

Apr 172008

Stratus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,156 miles


Oil light started flickering most when I was applying the brake. The engine started knocking maybe 3 weeks after. I knew I was due for an oil change so I had one done yesterday that didn't stop the knocking. I take it to the dealer I brought the car to have it looked at and he told me it was the engine so last night as im driving the knocking got real loud and you could smell something burning. The oil light was flickering more. Before I knew it the car had completely shut down.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #15

Jan 082008

Stratus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,600 miles
One day after we purchased a 2002 Dodge Stratus from a private seller, the car died and had to be towed to a mechanic. He had it for 3 days but car started for him. 2 days later car died again so we towed it to a Dodge dealer. He had it for 2 days and informed us the engine was shot due to oil sludge and a timing issue. It would need an engine replacement for $6100. We drove the car less than 20 miles, didn't make our first payment on a 3 year loan and have no car to drive. I still have a 10 year old Dodge Caravan, but was not aware of the defective 2.7L engine Dodge knowing sold to consumers. Never buy another Dodge.

- Nottingham, MD, USA

problem #14

Oct 202007

Stratus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles
Engine failure.

- Clayton, IN, USA

problem #13

Sep 232007

Stratus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles
I bought this car in January 2006. I was having problems with the car, little things kept going wrong. I have kept up on maintenance. 3 weeks ago my water pump went out. I picked up my car after the repair and the oil light was still on. Apparently when the water pump had failed, it was leaking coolant and such into the engine. Not to mention the sludge. Of course 2 days after picking up the car, the engine failed on the interstate with my 2 year old son in the car. It is still in the shop. I am having to have a brand new engine installed.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #12

May 112007

Stratus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Dodge Stratus. While driving 20 mph, a knocking noise was heard coming from the engine compartment. The vehicle failed and was towed. The contact was told that this is a very common failure due to sludge build up in the engine. The entire engine had to be replaced. The current and failure mileages were 80,000.

- Colombia Heights , MN, USA

problem #11

May 112007

Stratus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
Normal driving then the engine started clanking and quit. Service station said the 2.7 V6 is a terrible engine and need to be totally replaced. Called Chrysler and they said they would not help me. It cost about $4000 to fix. Not sure what to do. Can't afford that there are thousands of complaints on with the same complaint.

- Columbia Heights, MN, USA

problem #10

Jun 102006

Stratus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,900 miles
: the contact stated while driving 65 mph the vehicle made a knocking noise and stalled. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who determined a rod and crank bearings fractured causing damage to the underside of the engine. The engine will need to be replaced.

- Billings, MT, USA

problem #9

Nov 302005

Stratus 6-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
I drove to knoxville, tn. I went to a basket ball game. On the interstate the engine started knocking real terribly. I called my mom and she said to check the oil in the morning. I did it was at a perfect level.(I had got the oil changed about a week before this trip.) I had the car towed to a maintenance shop. They said the oil holes are to small to let sufficient oil through to the engine and that the oil was like gummy at the bottom of the engine(how would any one know that) and it ruins your engine. I had another maintenance shop check my car at home in wi. They said the same thing the mechanic said in tn. The car needs a new engine. The car is in my drive way because I have no money to put a new engine in the car. My mom was good enough to drive to tn and rent a uhaul with a trailer and bring my car back. I don't only need at least $3000 for engine I also owe my mom $700 for the towing.

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #8

Nov 302005

Stratus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
My car needs a new engine. It has ~42000 miles. The mechanics one from knoxville, tn where the engine died and the one in kenosha, wi where I had to have the car brought home, said the oil holes are to small to let sufficient oil thru the engine. The car is still sitting at the mechanics shop because I do not have $3000 to have it fixed.

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #7

Dec 242005

Stratus 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
Dodge Stratus 2002 2.7 motor failure at 80,000 due to sludge build up caused by water leaking into motor, poor engine design and manufacturer should of advised that this car needed aggressive oil changes with synthetic oil not fossil fuel based oil. Stranded wife on highway on christmas eve. Dealership will not repair due to poor maintenance. Car is still under warranty. Said that I did not do enough oil changes. Car was maintain to company specs.

- San Jacinto, CA, USA

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